During GenCon, Brad Brockway and myself had an amazing opportunity to interview several companies, some up-and-coming and some already juggernauts in the gaming industry. One of these interviews was with a person that I have been a fan of for many many years and I have to thank for providing the system which really hooked me into gaming. This interview was with Wes Schneider, Editor in Chief of Paizo, the company responsibility for my favourite system, Pathfinder. Wes took time from his very busy schedule to meet up with us, indulge our questions, and tell us more about some of the new things that Paizo has out now. Since the interview was conducted in the exhibit hall with several thousand people around us, it has been transcribed below for your reading pleasure. This is the third part of a three part interview. Click here for part one and part two
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
Wes: This is our new Pathfinder Adventure Card Game that is based off the “Wrath of the Righteous” pack. What people might not know is that all of the card games were first adventure paths from the campaign, so they are these giant stories for the Pathfinder game that are meant to be a whole campaign. Since these have been so well received and shared experiences of “oh what did you guy do here”, we wanted to get those stories out there even for people who weren’t necessarily interested in sitting down and playing an RPG or even wanted to play a campaign that might not get done for a year. The adventure card game gives you a way to play that for people who like to play card or board games and it’s a co-op game, not a competitive one. You are playing with your group and everybody gets a card character and each game session you go through a little scenario that has an element of story in it as well as going through and hunting monsters, getting treasure, etc. But what happens is when you start the game, everybody picks a character that you end up customizing through the creation of their deck. So very early on you might have crappy armour, crappy weapons, and very few abilities; but as you advance you get more and more and more. That becomes your character and then as you are playing through, you keep that character, continue advancing as you’re going through the story, you are getting that experience. So Wrath of the Righteous is part of that adventure path that is largely about there has been a demonic incursion and you are part of the crusaders who are trying to push that back. Now at the beginning, your chances of that are not so great, but over the course of suicide mission after suicide mission, you are able to push that back hopefully if you are able to get through the whole thing. The main set here has a number of introductory adventures to it and then it has the first part of the whole Wrath of the Righteous story. But then what we have is after you have finished with those, if you want to continue playing, we have monthly releases of more adventures. As you can see from all of this, there is a ton of it. People have been really ravenous for more stuff. So if you dont’ want to play the characters here, you can play the iconic characters. A bunch of other companies have also gotten on board like Ultra-Pro has designed card mats and sleeves for it.
Geekly Inc.: It seems like a good mechanic to get the players attached to their characters in the same way you would playing an RPG, which a lot of other cooperative card games don’t have.
Wes: Exactly and like anyone can come up and pick it up and it takes about an hour to play. So there are a lot of folks, like my husband for example, who aren’t super into RPGs, but will sit down and have a few drinks and get into the card game. It’s even to the point where he is like “I get it, I feel like I know the story” and when we banter about the story he can jump in.
Geekly Inc.: And I bet this would be a good stepping stone for someone who likes the idea of Pathfinder or that type of RPG, but perhaps isn’t ready or comfortable doing that. So this is a good starter for building that foundation and then working into RPGs later.
Wes: And the other good thing about it is folks have been constantly wanting more and more and more. A big thing for Pathfinder, as long as we have been doing the RPG, is to have the “Pathfinder Society” organized play program. So we started an offshoot for the card game called the “Pathfinder Society Card Guild” where every month there is new stuff for it. Another big thing coming out is a project we are working on with Obsidian. Right now we are developing the card game for iPads.
Geekly Inc.: Awesome, would this also be something that would eventually be able to function on Android tablets and phones or will it be primarily sticking to iPad?
Wes: I do believe that is the end goal. It is still pretty early in the process and this is the first time that people have been able to play with it on a tablet. But the intention is to make it as accessible as possible. I think at this point there are a ton of different directions we can and at this point we just want to make it something that everyone can play.
Geekly Inc.: This last question is a personal indulgence question. Everyone has their favourite character that they have played and then everyone has these tragic deaths that they remember. What is your favourite character death that you have either caused or had happen to you?
Wes: Let’s see…it’s interesting because we have a staff game at Paizo that we just wrapped up that had been going on for about 7 years. It started as a playtest game and James Jacobs was our GM, the Creative Director, Erik Mona-publisher..and we have been playing it forever. I was playing a Bard which at the beginning is like “oh you’re the bard” but once you hit 16th level you add this many bonuses and I had a spreadsheet on the whiteboard which was basically “you add +900 to everything”…and nobody messes with the bard at that point. But we definitely have a lot of big personalities in that game. A lot characters who were always fighting or squabbling and I very much became the peacekeeper of the game. So the very reason we even existed throughout that adventure was my bard, Styrian, every time they would get ready to fight each other would be able to calm them down. Largely through charm person/charm monster..works on a lot more than just monsters. So to kind of spin it around, I think my character was the main reason as to why we were able to survive.
This concludes our three part interview with Wes and it was such a joy to be able to take some time and speak with a man who has helped to shape the world of tabletop gaming. You can get the newest edition to the Pathfinder world, the Adventure Card Game, online or in your local game store now.